When was the last time you paid a visit to your doctor; not because you witnessed some symptoms of an illness, but because you wanted to get a regular check up? If you don’t remember, it is because you have lost insight to keep yourself regularly updated on your health. Screening and health checkups take precedence over anything else when it comes to healthcare and should not be neglected at any cost.
So what are screening tests? Suppose you
suffer from an illness, your body will react to it and you will witness symptoms which will urge you to visit a doctor. In contrast, when your body shows no sign of illness and you go for a complete physical examination and testing, it is called a screen test.
Why should you schedule a screening test today?
The primary reason why regular screening tests are highly recommended is early detection. Even if your body has not yet caught on to your illness, a medical examination will detect early signs of the disease. Any disease including cancer, diabetes, HIV, high blood pressure, cholesterol or heart illness if caught in the preliminary stage, is easier to treat and control. It helps your doctor take the most non-invasive plan of action for your treatment. In most cases, early detection can avoid the need of risky surgery.
Let’s see an example of a stress test. It is not a diagnostic test, so during regular examination of health and stamina, if your stress results are off the charts, the doctor is led to believe that there are discrepancies and clogging in the arteries. If diagnosed early, an angioplasty can be avoided with lifestyle changes and oral medicine.
How should you go prepared for a screening test?
A thorough background check of past medical illness, lifestyle and habits will be conducted during your health checkups. So make sure you go prepared with information about your allergies and disease history to provide your doctor with an accurate idea of your condition.
Environmental factors such as your workplace, your daily work hours, commute time, the number of hours you spend before a computer screen, your smoking and alcohol consumption history are of utmost importance while going in for a screening test.
All such information is important, hence hide nothing. The smallest detail could be vital in early and accurate diagnosis.
Since men and women have different immunity and are susceptible to different illnesses, the screening tests and the frequency with which they should be conducted are different. Here’s a list that you may want to go through:
Screening tests for men: (Age: 35 and more)
- If you suffer from low/high blood pressure and have not had your blood pressure checked, schedule an appointment with your doctor immediately. Your BP (Blood Pressure) is measured in two numbers; the top number is systolic and the bottom one is diastolic. Usually the top number must be less than 120 and the bottom one less than 80 for normal blood pressure. A stress test to check your heart condition is also recommended.
- If you are obese, overweight or have a history of diabetes, get checked once in two years at least. Patients who have a family history should not neglect tests.
- If you have a history of steroid usage, smoking, drinking or substance abuse, you should have a medical examination done once every two years.
- Women should get a pap smear test done once every two years and more frequently if there’s a family history, to check for cervical cancer.
- Older women, closer to the age of 40 should get themselves tested by a mammogram to check for breast cancer. This form of cancer is one of the most commonly found in women above the age for 35.
- Diabetes and obesity checkups should be conducted once every year. Weight issues lead to heart conditions along with complications in pregnancy.
- If you are sexually active, get yourself tested for sexually transmitting diseases every year. Most illnesses have no symptoms for the first couple of months, getting early detection done is hence crucial.
- If you’re planning a pregnancy, it’s a good idea to get yourself screened to avoid unnecessary complications. Such test will pick up on any unforeseen circumstances and allow a seamless delivery.
In addition to medical benefits, regular health checkups also act as a wake-up call for a better lifestyle. Once you schedule regular checkups, your unhealthy habits such as excessive drinking, smoking and lack of exercise will eventually give way to a healthier lifestyle.